We live in a changing world. Consider for a moment a conversation I had over lunch the other day. My companion–a veteran of World War II–asked me what the QR code on our menu was. I struggled to explain; what twentieth century analogies could I use for smart phones, mobile apps, and landing pages? (This is a man who oh-so-adorably refers to my notebook computer as a “stomach piano.”)

With so much of our modern society revolving around the Web, it’s hard to believe how recently all mail was snail mail and the yellow pages were an effective use of marketing capital.

But now we have a generation that will never know life without Google, Facebook, and YouTube (at least not until these, too, become obsolete).

The importance of digital marketing for small business

Some small business owners seem to be missing the digital marketing boat. According to a recent survey 64% of small business owners think social media is unnecessary. However, another survey shows us that 70% of consumers online trust recommendations from people they don’t even know. And another says that 97% of consumers say their purchasing decisions have been influenced by an online experience.

I’m not making any news by saying traditional marketing techniques are losing ground in the digital revolution, but I am asking you to take stock of your own marketing efforts. Tell me:

  • Is your website a dynamic place where customers can interact with your brand?
  • Do you provide relevant and interesting information on your blog?
  • Do you keep tabs on and reply to what people are tweeting about your company?
  • Can supporters “like” your brand?

Or is the sum of your web presence a digital brochure that languishes untouched and outdated on a web server somewhere?

Like it or not your business is judged by your digital presence (or lack thereof). Big companies know this. They use websites, social media, email, video, print, mobile, live events, billboards, and more in hugely effective integrated marketing campaigns. (I publicly admired this campaign by Viceral Games.)

Your marketing budget may not allow you to compete with the giants of industry, but Internet marketing has such low overhead that anyone can have some skin in the game. So, what are you doing to take advantage all that digital marketing has to offer?